Former Aston Villa striker and pundit, Darren Bent, didn’t hold back in his criticism of Liverpool defender Joe Gomez. He pointed out that Gomez’s poor performances on the pitch seem to be having a negative impact on Virgil van Dijk’s form. Bent’s remarks highlight the potential influence of one player’s struggles on the overall performance of the team, particularly on a key player like Van Dijk.
Bent made these comments during an interview with TalkSport (quotes via Rousing The Kop) where he discussed Van Dijk’s recent decline in performance.
Bent acknowledged that Van Dijk has made some mistakes since returning from injury, but he still believes the Dutchman is one of the best center-backs in the world.
However, he believes that Gomez’s inconsistency and poor form are making things difficult for Van Dijk as he has to work harder to cover for his teammate.
Bent specifically highlighted Gomez’s poor performance against Real Madrid and suggested that the Liverpool goalkeeper is also starting to make more mistakes.
“He’s [Van Dijk] obviously come back from this injury. Yes he’s made mistakes Virgil, but he’s still one of the best centre-halves in the world.”
“But when you put someone who’s so inconsistent next to him and lacking form, he’s having to do even more work to try and cover Joe Gomez.”
“He [Gomez] was appalling [against Real Madrid]. So it must make him incredibly on edge. Not only that, but the goalkeeper behind you who, okay I get it he’s making saves, but he’s starting to make a few more mistakes.”
Liverpool’s defense has struggled this season, conceding an average of 1.27 goals per game. The absence of Van Dijk, who has been injury-prone, has been particularly noticeable, as the likes of Matip and Gomez have looked shaky in his absence.
Despite Van Dijk’s dip in form, he brings a sense of calmness to the defense. However, Liverpool’s defense still needs attention, especially given their lack of reliable center-backs. The only other trustworthy center-back at the moment is Konate.